Italy and Spain meet in a titanic Euro 2020 semi-final on Tuesday after coming through draining quarter-final ties.
The Azzurri look in fearsome form, making in 15 wins in a row and 32 games unbeaten by dispatching the world’s top-ranked team Belgium in Munich.
Spain appeared to have found their scoring touch but were back to their profligate best as they scrapped past Switzerland on penalties.
It’s to the home of football next week as they face off for a place in the Final.
Italy are obviously looking to challenge themselves with their two friendlies this week, with this clash with Spain being followed on Tuesday by a visit to World Champions Germany.
They will want to put on a better performance than their last two friendlies though, which have seen them draw 2-2 with Romania and lose to the inexplicably top placed side in the FIFA World Rankings, Belgium, 3-1.
Fortunately for them, they did put in better performances during qualifying for Euro 2016, winning seven and drawing three of their group matches and finishing top of their group in the process.
Spain also enjoyed an excellent qualification period, winning nine of their ten games and only losing away from home to Slovakia back in the second group game. They beat England in a friendly back in November too, meaning they come into this match on the back of a seven match winning streak since their friendly defeat to the Netherlands almost a year ago.
Spain’s excellent ability in possession and solid defensive line has helped them towards seven consecutive clean sheets, but Italy have also managed to keep the opposition out in two of their last four matches.
It depends on which side of both teams turn up but Italy are the slight favorites to win here.
Form Guide: Italy
Italy will be buoyed by their victory over Belgium, an opponent that was always going to test them in attack as well as in defence. Roberto Mancini is probably going to make a couple of changes to his starting eleven for the semi-final, following the injury to Spinazzola who looks set to miss the rest of the tournament. The Roma full-back has been one of Italy’s key players both in defence and going forward and he will be missed in the semi-final.
Form Guide: Spain
Spain were taken to extra time for the second game running and this time they needed penalties to earn their place in the semi-final. Luis Enrique’s side could and should have won the game within the 90-minutes after they created a number of clear-cut chances and failed to convert any of them. This ability to create goals has helped Spain progress through Euro 2020 but they are going to have to be more economical in front of goal if they want to outscore Italy.
How the match could go
The Azzurri are on a 13-game winning streak, which included their victory over Austria in extra time in the Round of 16. They are also on a 32-match unbeaten run, and this stretch included another 11-game winning streak. Note that they had scored two or more goals in 12 of their past 13 fixtures. On the other hand, Enrique’s men had failed to record wins in regular time in four of their preceding five match-ups, and also their forwards have not yet shown good form at the Euro till now.
By the looks of things, Italy are undoubtedly the better side at the moment and it’s no surprise the bookies are now even backing them to go all the way in the competition.
Betting Tips and Predictions
Italy to qualify
The Italians have won 12 of their last 13 matches heading into this one and that makes them worthy favourites. Spain have drawn 1-1 with Switzerland and Poland in recent matches and we feel like this step up will ultimately be beyond them. The Spanish have won just once in 90 minutes at this tournament and Italy have won four of their five games without extra-time. With the Italians winning 2-1 in each of their last two games we’re backing something of a repeat here as they edge a Spanish side who have progressed this far thanks to score draws. Even if it does go to extra time, we’re still sticking with the Italians to nudge it. Bet365 have 1.70 odds, Bet9ja have 1.72 and 1xbet have 1.75.
Over 2.5 goals
Italy conceded for the first time within 90 minutes at this tournament in their win over Belgium on Friday night. The Italians shipped one from the spot and they had to defend resolutely to keep the Red Devils down to a single goal. With the quality of opposition stepping up, Italy will find it harder and harder to keep clean sheets. Spain have scored 12 times across their last four matches at Euro 2020 and they’ve shaken off their tag as the side that can’t make a breakthrough. The Spanish haven’t got an out-and-out striker scoring for them, but like Italy they play with a front three who are all capable of causing problems. Italy have scored 11 goals across their three games but they’ve now gone two matches without a clean sheet at the Euros. Spain have seen both teams score in three of their last four games and in six of their last eight competitive matches, so we’re backing goals when these two face off. Bet9ja have 2.20 odds, Bet365 have 2.30 and 1xbet have 2.34.
Both teams to score: Yes
We’re expecting goals in this game at both ends of the pitch as both teams look good going forward and have both failed to keep clean sheets in their last two outings. Both teams have scored in each of Italy’s last two matches, both of which ended in 2-1 score-lines, while three of Spain’s last four fixtures have seen both teams score. We expect that to carry on once again today. Bet365 have 1.83 odds, Bet9ja have 1.90 and 1xbet have 2.00.
Anytime Goal-scorer (Italy)
Lorenzo Insigne scored a fantastic goal against Belgium on Friday, but that effort was one of three from an almost identical position from the Napoli winger. On each occasion he cut inside and let off a shot from outside the box, with two of those three efforts on target. Insigne has had more shots on target than any other Italian player at this tournament and he’s clearly focusing in on how he can trouble the opposition the most. Expect the tricky winger to get space against Spain and he’s great value to add to his three goals in his last six Italy appearances. Bet365 have 3.75 odds for him to score while Bet9ja have 4.00.
Ciro Immobile might have had a game to forget against Belgium but he remains one of the most dangerous men for Italy upfront. He has scored two goals en route to Italy’s quest so far and he’ll be looking to put away a disappointing performance last time out by grabbing a goal perhaps. Bet365 have 2.75 odds while Bet9ja have 3.25.
Anytime Goal-scorer (Spain)
Despite all the criticism he has received so far, Morata remains one of Spain’s top scorers with two goals in the competition so far. He might have missed some big chances and could have admittedly scored more but he definitely remains the top name to make something happen for Luis Enrique and company. Bet365 have 3.00 odds for him to score while Bet9ja have 3.50.
Similar to Morata, the Manchester City star has also pooped up with two goals so far in the tournament. He has come as a brilliant spark in attack and his pace upfront could come as an asset for Spain to trouble the experienced but somewhat slow Italian defence. He will likely see some chances come his way and he could also come as a value option to get on the score-sheet. Bet365 have 3.75 odds for him to score while Bet9ja have it better at 5.25.
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